Ground Zero Mosque: Islamophobia? Not Really
Here's a thought: The 70 percent of Americans who oppose what amounts to an Islamic Niketown two blocks from ground zero are the real victims of a climate of hate, and the much-ballyhooed anti-Muslim backlash is mostly a myth.
Let's start with some data.
According to the FBI, hate crimes against Muslims increased by a staggering 1,600 percent in 2001. That sounds serious! But wait, the increase is a math mirage. There were 28 anti-Islamic incidents in 2000. That number climbed to 481 the year a bunch of Muslim terrorists murdered 3,000 Americans in the name of Islam on
Now, that was a hate crime.
Regardless, 2001 was the zenith or, looked at through the prism of our national shame, the nadir of the much-discussed anti-Muslim backlash in
Sure, even one hate crime is too many. But does that sound like an anti-Muslim backlash to you?
Let's put this in even sharper focus. America is, outside of
In 2001, there were twice as many anti-Jewish incidents as there were anti-Muslim, according to the FBI. In 2002 and pretty much every year since, anti-Jewish incidents have outstripped anti-Muslim incidents by at least 6 to 1. Why aren't we talking about the anti-Jewish climate in America?
Because there isn't one. And there isn't an anti-Muslim climate either. Yes, there's a lot of heated rhetoric on the Internet. Absolutely, some Americans don't like Muslims. But if you watch TV or movies, or read, say, the op-ed page of the
No doubt some American Muslims -- particularly young Muslim men with ties to the
For 10 years we've been subjected to news stories about the Muslim backlash that's always around the corner. It didn't start with President Obama or with the "ground zero mosque." President
But he was right to emphasize America's tolerance and to draw a sharp line between Muslim terrorists and their law-abiding co-religionists.
Meanwhile, to listen to Obama -- say, in his famous
Conversely, nowhere is there more open, honest and intentional intolerance -- in words and deeds -- than from certain prominent Muslim leaders around the world. And yet, Americans are the bigots?
And when Muslim fanatics kill Americans -- after, say, the Fort Hood slaughter -- a reflexive response from the Obama administration is to fret over an anti-Islamic backlash.
It's fine to avoid negative stereotypes of Muslims, but why the rush to embrace them when it comes to Americans?
And now, thanks to the entirely avoidable "ground zero mosque" controversy, we are again discussing America's Islamophobia, which, according to
When, pray tell, will
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Ground Zero Mosque: Islamophobia? Not really
(c) 2010 Jonah Goldberg